Sam Darnold on Monday went from the No. 3 overall pick of the 2018 NFL Draft to the No. 3 quarterback option for the 49ers.
The 49ers agreed to contract terms with Darnold on the first day of the NFL’s open negotiating period for free agents, Adam Schefter of ESPN reported, citing a source.
Darnold joins third-year player Trey Lance, the third overall pick of the 2021 draft, as the 49ers’ only other quarterback who is expected to be available for the team’s offseason program.
The 49ers are expected to begin their offseason program on April 17, with training camp scheduled to open in late-July.
Brock Purdy underwent elbow surgery last week and is not expected to receive full medical clearance to resume playing football for six months.
General manager John Lynch recently said on “49ers Talk” that his affinity for Lance and Purdy would not preclude the team from signing a veteran quarterback.
“We love the two guys we have,” Lynch said.
“Might we look elsewhere? Sure, because I think that’s just good business.”
If Lance and Purdy are healthy, Darnold is likely to be the third quarterback on the 49ers’ roster — or placed on the practice squad.
Darnold, who turns 26 in June, spent his first three NFL seasons with the New York Jets. He struggled mightily in his 38 starts. The Jets went 13-25 in games he started, and Darnold threw 45 touchdowns, 39 interceptions and compiled a passer rating of 78.6.
He was dealt to the Carolina Panthers in 2021 and started 17 games over the past two seasons. Darnold threw 16 touchdowns, 16 interceptions and had a 77.3 rating while the Panthers went 8-9 with him as the starter.
Lance opened last season as the 49ers’ starter, but his season came to an end with a fracture lower leg and ankle ligament damage sustained in Week 4 against the Seattle Seahawks.
Veteran Jimmy Garoppolo started the next 10 games, and led the 49ers back to the cusp of the postseason before his season ended with a fractured foot.
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Purdy turned into one of the big surprises of the NFL season. The 49ers won eight consecutive games with him at quarterback.
However, Purdy sustained a torn ulnar-collateral ligament in his right elbow in the 49ers’ 31-7 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC Championship Game.